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The business of business this week


The business of business this week, including the sale of Yahoo to Verizon, Werner Herzog on emojis, David Bowie's legacy, an evening with the world's biggest troll, and using 3D printing to catch criminals

This week we look at the business of business and in particular the fate of venerable IT and internet giant Yahoo.

Verizon, which was one of American's 'Baby Bells' has bought Yahoo for $4.83 billion. The purchase makes an unlikely pairing of two long-term rivals - Yahoo and AOL to build a working ad 'stack' or full service digital ad buying and selling, from the disparate parts of those businesses. Here's a brief history of Yahoo, plus the detail that Verizon will not buy Yahoo’s investments, valued at $40bn, but only the core business, valued at -$3bn. As Quartz shows, when to sell is decisive. Yahoo turned down an offer worth ten times the current deal in 2008. Founder Jerry Yang said that previous offer was ‘inadequate’.

Vodafone had previously held a 45% stake in Verizon, and this week suffered problems down to its CRM which wiped-out a large proportion of its profits.

The performance of newer companies will be of interest. Google continues to dominates search worldwide, and holds 30.9% of the worldwide digital ad market, growing 9% over the past year according to eMarketer.

Twitter's results were not so good.

Despite revenues increasing 20% year-on-year thanks to an 18% increase in ad revenue, this disappointed investors, with shares in the social network tumbling more than 13% on the news. The company attempted to pre-empt their results with its ‘see what’s happening’ campaign to position it as the place for breaking news. Twitter's own research discovered that most people don’t know how to use the microblogging site or how it might be used. AdWeek spoke to its CMO Leslie Berland to explain the new campaign, with some insight into the use of the blue bird logo.

Apple's performance was also somewhat disappointing. It remains the world's biggest company by market capitalisation, but it's core business - iPhone sales - have slumped for the first time since the product launched in 2007.

Read an interview with Bill Fernandez, the man who introduced Steve jobs to Steve Wozniak and was Apple’s first employee.

In the UK the quest for ‘Unicorn’ companies that represent at least $1bn in marketing capitalisation, continues. Readers may have followed the chaos over Powa a few months ago. The latest unicorn to suffer is music social network Crowdmix, which went into administration earlier this month.

Leading the field in music streaming is Spotify, which has now started to serve programmatic audio ads.

The legacy of David Bowie re-emerged this week. First, his lost album The Gouster, which eventually morphed into Young Americans will be released, while Oliver James looked at the impact of madness that ran through his family had on his work.

Filmmaker and luddite Werner Herzog spoke to Wired magazine about his non-engagement with the digital world:

Far more engaged with the modern world, Laurie Penny spent a manic evening at the Republican party convention with the world’s biggest troll.

In the future, the many features used to protect the identities of those who use modern devices may be at risk. Police have recreated the fingerprints of alleged criminals using 3D printing to gain access to their fingerprint-protected technology, such as iPhones.

You may remember the fad in 2014 of dousing onself in ice water to raise money for ALS (known this side of the pond as Motor Neurone Disease). The phenomenal success of the campaign has produced real results, with a breakthrough in the genetic make-up of the disease funded from the windfall from that campaign.

Finally, it is the season for barbeques, (occasionally) hot weather and the joys of the outdoors. Watch this hard-hitting film from the Maritime and Coastguard agency which will make you think twice before taking a dip after a big 'session':

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